John Colobos (ca. 339-409) monk
Today the Coptic church commemorates John, a monk of the Egyptian monastic settlement of Scetis, who was called Colobos or "little" because of his short stature.
A brief apophthegm admirably sums up John's spiritual gifts: "Who is this Abba John, who with his humility has all of Scetis hanging from his little finger?"
John was born around the year 339 in Bahnasa, Egypt, and went to Scetis before he was eighteen. At the school of the desert fathers he learned obedience, which for a Christian is the only path towards salvation. It was his obedience and submission to every sort of humiliation, for love of God and his brothers, that made John one of the greatest masters of humility in early Christianity. He was aware that the root of human humility is God's humility, which consists in the strength of his love and is irresistible for the very reason that it leaves people free and leads those who welcome it to the fullness of freedom.
At the age of seventy, John was warned in a dream by Antony, Macarius, and his spiritual father Amoes that he was about to die. He sent his disciple to run errands so that he could prepare himself alone for his face-to-face meeting with the God whose presence had so filled his life.
The ample collection of John's sayings that has been preserved forms a small compendium of spiritual life for Christians of every era.
2 Tim 2:1-10; Jn 15:17-16:2
Shushanik (Susanna, d. 475) martyr
Today the Georgian church remembers the martyrdom of the grandduchess Shushanik, who died on October 17, 475 at the end of a long prison term which she served on account of her Christian faith.
The story of Shushanik has reached us through the splendid hagiographical narrative of James Chuzesi, who, in addition to being the saint's confessor, was the first and perhaps the greatest Georgian religious writer.
Shushanik was the daughter of the Armenian aristocrat Vardan Mamikonyan, and was married to Varsken, grandduke of Karthli in eastern Georgia. Their union deteriorated when Varsken converted to Zoroastrianism in the presence of the Persian king, probably for reasons of political opportunity. Shushanik accused her husband of apostasy and was arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to public derision. She refused all assistance in prison and died after six years of fasting and mortification, during which her husband remained unyielding.
Shushanik is commemorated today in the Patriarchate of Georgia. In the Armenian church, her memorial is celebrated on the Thursday following the second Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross.
2 Tim 2:1-10; Jn 15:17-16:2
THE CHURCHES REMEMBER...
Marcel of León (d. 298), martyr (Spanish-Mozarabic calendar)
COPTS AND ETHIOPIANS (20 babah/teqemt):
John Colobos, monk (Coptic Church)
Elisha (9th cent. BCE), prophet (Ethiopian Church)
Godescalco (d. 868), monk and theologian in France
Jakob Sturm (d. 1553), burgomaster at Strasbourg
Baruch (7th-6th cent. BCE), prophet
Serapion (2nd-3rd cent.), patriarch of Antioch
ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS AND GREEK CATHOLICS:
Zenobius (d. 285), hieromartyr, and Zenobia, his sister
Joseph Giandieri (d. 1770), catholicos (Georgian Church)